By Thailan Pham, SELF
Qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi has begun, and we couldn't be more excited for the Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 7. To get you ready for the games, we'll be showing you awesome fitness moves from some our favorite U.S. team all-stars. Get ready to get fit, Olympian-style!
Thinking of taking up snowboarding this ski season? Get inspired by Kelly Clark, a board legend at 30 years old. Clark is prepping for her fourth Olympic games and competed in the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix finals recently.
A two-time Olympic medalist, Clark is still passionate for the halfpipe, where she completes a full run of tricks, flips and spins.
"I love that there's no mold -- the sport is still developing," she says. "There's no cap on what's possible and there's always something new to learn."
You need some major core strength to pull off tricks like this (every time Clark rides up the halfpipe wall, she says she's just pushing against gravity and "trying not to get compressed!"). Four years ago, Clark decided to take her game up a notch by buckling down with an intense fitness routine. And now? "I'm coming off the three best seasons I've had in the last 15!"
One staple of Clark's workout routine is Hamstring Swissball Curls, which build glutes, quad and core stability while boosting balance. Working these body parts helps her keep control of the board and manage those icy bumps. Check out this move and you'll feel stronger on your board in no time.
THE MOVE: HAMSTRING SWISSBALL CURLS
(gif: Wendy Turner)
Lie face-up on a mat, resting your heels and calves upward on a Swiss ball. With arms above your head for support and abs engaged, lift hips into to the air so that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bend at knees, rolling the ball with your heels toward your butt. Hold the position briefly, then reverse the move by rolling the ball back out so that your body is straight again, then lower hips to the ground.